Remember when death metal was legitimately ugly music that could scare the shit out of the average Joe? If their self-released, self-titled debut album is anything to go on, Chicago’s Imperial Savagery sure do; they’re looking to drag the genre back into the primordial ooze from whence it came and take you down with it. It’s a twenty-six minute beating that’s completely unrelenting in its feral viciousness.
You won’t find any technical flourishes, triggered drums or pristine production here, only ferocious, battering filth, recalling the likes of early Autopsy and Deicide. That said, there is a rough edge to Imperial Savagery’s sound that also recalls 2nd wave black metal ala A Blaze in the Northern Sky, adding another layer of gnarliness. The band attacks each song as if their very lives depend on it, resulting in a reckless abandon-fueled onslaught that may be informed as much by the nastier side of hardcore punk (think the Misfits circa Earth A.D.) as by early death and black metal. All of this isn’t to say that Imperial Savagery is merely the sum of their influences, rather it’s to point out the fact that they have taken the most violent aspects of a variety of styles and distilled them into a singular death metal assault.
The recording quality of the album enhances its most brutal, bludgeoning qualities; a clattering din with no shortage of low-end. Indeed, it’s lo-fi but still beefy and bulldozing, a rare combination that perfectly suits Imperial Savagery’s primitive take on death metal. You can hear everything that’s going on musically and even understand the lyrics, yet it’s still a wickedly corrosive listening experience. The songs themselves are short, sharp, shocks of bloodthirsty metallic efficiency, with most barely breaching the two-minute-and-thirty-second mark; a classic example of the get in, kill fucking everyone, get out approach.
Imperial Savagery have recorded one of the most visceral death metal albums I’ve come across in the last few years. How are they not signed to Dark Descent or Hells Headbangers? Whatever, the labels might be sleeping on these guys, but that’s no excuse for you to do the same. It’s available on CD direct from the band or digitally via Bandcamp, so get on it and prepare for a thorough death metal ass-kicking.